This article explains how to get wrinkles out of leather safely and without damaging it. We’ll cover the process of ironing leather jackets, pants, boots, skirts, and more.
Can you Iron Leather? Yes. Ironing is the most effective way to get wrinkles out of the leather. Simply, iron the underside of the leather on the highest heat setting with slow, deliberate strokes. Dampen the underside first for even better results.
If done correctly, this flattens the wrinkles and can leave the item looking practically brand new.
Important Warning! When ironing items like leather jackets, pants, skirts, boots, and sofas, they won’t always be easy to turn inside out and lay flat without buckles or seams getting in the way. To avoid serious damage, we’ve added some special instructions further down.
How to Get Wrinkles Out of Leather with an Iron
Ironing is the best way of getting wrinkles out of crumpled leather. The steps below apply to separate pieces of leather or where the leather can be accessed easily without damaging other parts of the item. This process works exactly the same for getting wrinkles out of suede. Here’s how to iron leather…
1. Turn the Leather Over
Firstly, you’ll want to work on the underside of the leather. This is also called the “suede” side. If you apply a hot iron to the top of the leather, you could easily scorch it or even damage the “grain” pattern.
Unfortunately, in the case of leather jackets or handbags, turning it inside out isn’t always possible. In this case, you must use a cotton cloth or piece of brown craft paper between the leather and the hot iron to avoid direct contact. Skip to Ironing a Leather Jacket.
2. Wet the Underside of the Leather
(You can skip this step but it adds to the effectiveness of ironing the leather.)
Using a spray bottle, dampen the underside of the leather with plain tap water. You could also use a 50/50 mix of water and Isopropyl Alcohol 90% (available at most supermarkets). Avoid using the alcohol mix if you’re working on a delicate item with color dyes or intricate stitching.
3. Set the Iron to High Heat
Leather responds well to the high heat setting on a steam iron, as long as you follow the steps above to protect it. This is sometimes marked as “Cotton” or 400F/204C and can even be indicated by 3 dots on an iron icon on other clothing items.
4. Sweep the Iron with Gentle and Even Strokes
Do not push down hard or pull the leather as you iron. Instead, let the weight and heat of the iron do their magic as you gently sweep the hot iron along the surface. A great lightweight iron will do the trick. The moisture inside the leather will turn to steam and release the tension in the wrinkles and creases.
5. Let it Cool Down Before Moving
This step is quite important. Now that you have unwrinkled the leather, leave it to cool down and dry out before moving it to avoid unintentionally introducing new wrinkles.
How to Get Wrinkles Out of Leather Jacket
It isn’t always easy to access the underside of the leather on a wrinkled leather jacket. Lining, buckles, pockets, and belts are sewn into the design and get in the way. For this reason, we’ll have to iron the front side of the leather.
1. Lay the Jacket Flat
Lay the Jacket as flat as possible on a table or ironing board. Any accidental creases or folds will be inadvertently ironed into the leather.
2. Use Brown Craft Paper
Place a large piece of brown craft paper over the jacket. If you don’t have craft paper, a cotton cloth could also work to help protect the leather from damage by direct contact.
3. Set the Iron to Medium
Set the iron to medium heat to avoid damaging the natural leather grain. This will sometimes be marked as Wool or Polyester on your iron.
4. DO NOT USE STEAM!
Absolutely avoid applying steam to the top side of your leather jacket. The excessive heat will burn the surface and leave it irreparably damaged.
5. Let it Cool
While it’s still hot, new creases will easily appear. As mentioned above, let the leather cool down before moving it around.
Can You Steam Leather?
No! It is highly advised not to steam leather. The natural grain and pattern on the animal hide are not able to withstand the penetrative heat of the steam and will become irreparably damaged.
Instead, iron with a dry iron while using a barrier of brown craft paper or lightly dampen the back, suede part of the leather before ironing from the back.